Thursday, November 10, 2016

Speak out November 14th at City Commission: Demolish or preserve? 32 Granada St., voted a local landmark, could still face wrecking ball

On our City Commission agenda for Monday, November 14, 2016:  New Orleans speculator LOUIS JOHN ARBIZZANI is appealing from HARB's unanimous September 15, 2016 designation of the lovely Victorian home at 32 Granada Street as a local landmark. City Commission will determine the "legal sufficiency" of his appeal -- whether it happens at all.
ARBIZZANI wants to tear it down.  He is represented by UPCHURCH, BAILEY & UPCHURCH lawyer SIDNEY FRANKLYN ANSBACHER, who specializes in representing dodgy developers, creepy speculators and other enemies of historic preservation and environmental protection.
Just say NO.
Come speak out during the appeal hearing.
Support HARB's reasoned and documented decision, which was maladroitly covered by the St. Augustine Record, which quoted none of the hearing witnesses and did not attend the hearing.

Demolish or preserve? 32 Granada St., voted a local landmark, could still face wrecking ball (SAR)

No St. Augustine Record reporter was present to cover the HARB meeting on September 15, 2016.  WHY?  This is not reporting, so much as it is stenography. None of the public hearing witnesses are quoted. The property appraiser's website says the home was built in 1880. For more, read my story, here.  Watch the meeting tape here.

St. Augustine Record photo taken Friday, September 16, 2016 -- what is the object that LOUIS JOHN ARBIZZANI placed on the second floor balcony? Is it going to harm the Victorian woodwork against which it is leaning?

Demolish or preserve? 32 Granada St., voted a local landmark, could still face wrecking ball
Posted: September 18, 2016 - 10:48pm | Updated: September 18, 2016 - 11:02pm

St. Augustine’s Historic Architectural Review Board voted last week to make a property a local landmark, but they still could decide to allow its demolition.

The property at 32 Granada St. was home to notable residents including artist Antonio Vedovelli, according to backup materials.

Vedovelli’s work was shown in New York in 1945, according to a previous St. Augustine Record report. Articles about Vedovelli, who died in 1953, ran in Newsweek and Art Digest, according to a book called “Reflections” by Garry Libby, which the city shows in its backup materials.

That history was part of the reason for the landmark status vote, as the board is still hashing out whether to allow its demolition.

Without designating the structure as a local landmark, the board would not have authority to deny the demolition, Jenny Wolfe, city historic preservation officer, said at the meeting.

“The board ... found that it was significant at least on three criteria, and that is for the people ... as well as its architectural style and the association with the local art community,” Wolfe told The Record.

Board member Antoinette Wallace said the architecture is significant. The city lists it as a Frame Vernacular that “reflects a Folk Victorian style.”

“Authenticity of our city is very important and one by one this fabric is disappearing,” said board member Wallace.

L. John Arbizzani applied to have the property, a house built around the turn of the 20th century, demolished so that he can build a single family home, according to the staff report.

The board is expected to vote on the demolition application on Oct. 20, which will give board members time to consider evidence presented on the economic hardship.

The costs of renovating and relocating the building have been cited as part of the hardship, Wolfe said. An extensive report has been filed by the applicant on the property and the hardship.

When considering applications for demolition, the board looks at the significance of the structure, Wolfe said. But the board with their action can’t “create an undue economic hardship.”

The old St. Augustine Record building and the old waterworks building are other landmarks. That’s about the same level of significance as local properties listed on the National Register of Historic Places, of which there are about 30.

But the local landmark designation is solely a HARB decision, said David Birchim, planning and building department director.

That said, the property owner can appeal the landmark designation to the City Commission, Birchim said. An application had not been filed as of Friday.

According to backup materials from the city, “Local ‘historical landmarks’ are defined as a building, object, site or structure of the highest historical, architectural, cultural or archaeological importance and whose demolition, removal, relocation, or alteration would constitute an irreplaceable loss to the character and quality of the city.”


Warren Celli said...

Gee whiz! We just elected a president on a platform of hate, bigotry, xenophobia, homophobia, sexism, trans-phobia, Islamophobia, climate change denial and anti-science rhetoric. There are protests all over the country going on right now, but in Saint Phonystine, home of a hijacked closet KKK oppressive government, we turn our attention to saving a 'historic' building, a building that is part of a contrived and forced history that's been used hypocritically to rationalize much of the Jim Crow law created by the closet KKK tyrannical government.

In sweet irony a facet of the save the building rational is that an artist once lived there.

No mention is made in this diversionary scam of how the artists of today are oppressed and driven to early graves, nor is any mention made of the iron fisted oppression of free speech on the confiscated public ways.

Yes indeed, "Our budget shows our values." as mayor Slaver says in a pitch to fund more paving.

I would suggest that our ACTIONS better show our values.

If we can't get our priorities in order I say demolish it.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Celli writes well and I do agree with him regarding our national election. With that said - just because we are facing a national crisis ( if that is the proper label) it is not time to turn our back on matters of local importance.

A fellow who desires to destroy local history on a trumped up and a mostly false claim of hardship is really not much different than Trump.

I applaude this blog for covering the topic...citizens...get off your butt and take action.